Egypt has been enforcing some stringent food quality standards, and now they’re talking about banning all imports and exports of genetically modified foods (GMOs).
[Cairo. Creative Commons photo by Andrew A. Shenouda]
Over the summer, Egyptian officials rejected several import shipments of wheat, saying they were unfit for human consumption. Since then, the parliament has been pushing for stricter food standards. It looks like they got their wish.
Banning GMOs is tricky business. Even farms that raise GMO-free crops can’t necessarily avoid cross contamination from neighboring fields. Egypt’s Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza says they will determine food quality through testing and that “no agricultural products especially wheat, corn and soya bean would enter except after examining samples from the cargo.” He’s also calling for certification on imports and exports:
…it was necessary that all crops imported from abroad and exported from Egypt be accompanied by a certificate from the country of origin stating they are free of genetically modified materials.
Since Egypt is one of the world’s biggest wheat importers, could this ban send a message to farmers considering the switch to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Wheat?
Some folks are skeptical about the ban. It’s tough to find GMO-free soybean oil, for example, though Brazil does produce some non-GMO soybeans. I’m definitely interested to see where this policy goes! What do you guys think?
It’s looking like Egypt’s isn’t enacting the ban after all. According to a Reuter’s report:
The agency [MENA] quoted an unnamed official at the Agriculture Ministry as stating that earlier reports citing Amin Abaza ordering that a certificate accompany all imports to show they were free of genetically modified materials were “not correct.”
The original report of the decision was published by MENA…